Friday, August 5, 2016
Viewing Digital Record Images on FamilySearch.org -- Part Two
FamiliySearch.org has been digitizing genealogically important records for many years now. The most accessible collection of records on the website is in the Historical Record Collections. These records can be viewed for free and new records are added regularly from both the digitization of existing microfilm records and from newly acquired digitized records. There were 2115 collections of records containing billions of individuals records. Presently, most of these records are unindexed and it is necessary to search these records the same way you would search any unindexed record whether on microfilm or on paper.
I have seen a tendency to ignore unindexed records because of the additional effort it may take to find relevant information, but this is a mistake. In many cases an index contains only a selection of the information in the original record and examination of the original record will provide additional information. Indexes make the original and complete records more accessible but they do not replace the originals.
In the Historical Record Collections have icons and conventions that indicate the status of the records. The small camera image indicates that the collection has images of the original records
The larger camera icons indicate that the records have images on another website.
If there is no camera icon, it means that the record is an index with no digital images. Whether or not the collection has images, the name of the collection is followed by a number indicating the number of entries that have been indexed and if the collection is not yet indexed, there is a link that says "Browse Images." Here is a screenshot showing the variations:
The date is the date the collection was added to the Historical Record Collections or the date of the last upgrade. You can sort the Historical Record Collections chronologically by clicking on the column heading that says "Last Updated."
It is important to understand that the number in the "Records" column is not necessarily the total number of records but usually represents the number of indexed records in the collection. In some cases the number of records is a lot larger than the number actually indexed and it is important to search the records manually rather than rely completely on an index search.
To read the first post in this series see: